On December 7 Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the Commission, announced the launch of negotiations on a new Armenia-European Union framework agreement.
In his statement on the occasion of the launch of negotiations Edward Nalbandian noted,
“I am glad to be here in Brussels to launch together negotiations between Armenia and the European Union.
The Armenian side has long expressed its readiness to start negotiations with the EU on a framework agreement that would adequately reflect the depth and essence of our partnership. We are glad that the decision of the EU Council to open negotiations on the new legal basis of our relations allows us today to embark on this road.
Armenia enjoys close links with the European Union and is determined to further develop and strengthen comprehensive cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, taking into account our commitments within other integration formats. This determination has deeply rooted basis. In the words of the President of Armenia “With its past, culture, current goals and dreams, the Armenian nation is an inseparable part of the European civilization”.
Indeed, as ancient is the European civilisation, so old are the ties of Armenia and the Armenian nation with it. They go back to the depth of centuries to the times when the enlightened sons of our nation made their contribution to the formation of value system, which today is called the European values.
Based on those common values, we are committed at the continuous promotion of human rights and rule of law, consolidation of democratic institutions and improvement of judiciary, good governance, fight against corruption, strengthening the civil society. We are thankful to the EU for its valuable support in this regard.
Constitutional reform in Armenia that the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe characterised as of “extremely high quality” and “ in line with international standards”, was approved yesterday by the referendum, according to preliminary results. It is another important step also aimed at advancing many of those aspirations.
The further improvement of the framework for enhanced trade and investments, and increased sectoral cooperation are among the priorities of our common agenda.
Alongside the deliberations on the legal basis of our relations, the Armenian side has been engaged in negotiations with the relevant bodies of the European Commission regarding our participation in a number of EU programmes. We look forward to intensify effective cooperation in a large number of areas, such as education, science, research and innovation, air transportation and others.
We attach great importance to people to people contacts, and view enhanced mobility of our citizens as an important prerequisite for bringing our societies closer. It is almost two years now that the EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements are being implemented. We do believe that it is high time to move further and launch a dialogue on visa liberalization.
Following the successful negotiations of last month, we look forward to signing in coming days the agreements on Armenia’s participation in a number of EU programs, such as “Horizon 2020”, and the Program for Competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (COSME). In the area of transport, the Government of Armenia has expressed its readiness to conclude a common aviation agreement, following the liberalization of the aviation market through the Open Skies Policy.
Armenia well recognizes the importance of inclusive cooperation in different formats. We have been long advocating for adoption of a more visionary approach in utilizing the vast opportunities provided by integration frameworks and making best use of their advantages in a spirit of cooperation and partnership.
I believe we are opening today a new promising page in the Armenia-EU mutually beneficial relations. Many of those, from both sides, who will shoulder the challenging task of the negotiation process are not newcomers and have generated wide experience in the past. I believe that their knowledge and determination will serve to the purpose.
I wish all the success to our joint endeavor and I am confident that we will continue to proceed in the right direction.
I congratulate all of us on this occasion and wish productive deliberations.”